Gerbil Probe: The Media Empire of Michael Allen Rose

(The following is a transcript from the first Party Wolf Book Club meetup at the home of Michael Allen Rose in Chicago, IL - Saturday January 21st.)

Michael: Okay everyone, today we're discussing Constance Ann Fitzgerald's book Trashland A-Go-Go. Sophie? I know you really liked this one, you want to start us off?

Sophie: I like the character of Coco. It's nice to see a strong female, and I love that she changes throughout the book going from passive to an agent of action.

Smitty: I like that she's a stripper.

(General agreement, muttering)

Sophie: But she's more than that. She goes on an adventure, like Alice through the looking-glass. And she comes out stronger on the other side. It's interesting to watch her transform, and I won't ruin the ending of course, but wow, to look at Coco at the beginning and at the end are two very different things.

Rex: I liked the meat.

Cooter: Did you even read it?

Rex: Shut up, dick. Sophie read it to me. And I liked the meat. Where the lady was reading the meat?

Michael: You're talking about the oracle, who reads Coco's fortune?

Cooter: That part was a trip!

Herb "The Herb": (Snickering): Trip.

Smitty: Totally. She was all like "Oh no, I don't want to touch the nasty meat!" I'd let Coco touch my nasty meat any time. Yeah!

(At this point, Smitty begins doing pelvic thrusts, knocking over Rex's beer. The ensuing chase breaks a lamp in my living room. After several minutes of me screaming, and Herb "The Herb" laughing uncontrollably, Sophie manages to calm Rex down and Cooter has restrained Smitty with a roll of duct tape.)

Michael: Okay, all right... can we get back to the book now?

Sophie: I also liked the character of Rudy, the fly. He was a great sidekick, and I like the way he ended up being useful and integral to the plot.

Rex: Flies eat garbage.

Sophie: Yes, honey, they do.

Cooter: All the characters were pretty cool. I love how Victor, the DJ at the club, is so hard to pin down, man. You like, think he's a villain, then you think he's a hero, then you think he's a schmuck, and you never quite know what to do with him, until the end of the book. The way he plays his part helping wrap everything up, and how his relationship with Coco changes is awesome.

Rex: The violent parts were awesome too. Especially the crazy weapons! Who would have thought you could make a gun that fires--

Sophie: Sweetie, don't ruin things. People might read this on the interweb, and we want to entice them to buy it. No spoilers.

Rex: Okay. Well, I also liked when that asshole Arnie threw her in the trash. I mean, I would have kicked his ass for Coco, if I was there, but you know... it was a cool way to get things going.

Smitty: The dumpster part was awesome! I mean the part where the DJ crawls in after her. Smokin' hot!

Herb "The Herb": Smokin. (Takes gigantic hit from his joint) Hot.

Michael: You mean the part where Victor goes after Coco to--? You are a sick little monkey.

Cooter: You should see his porn collection. Ninety percent trash-related.

Smitty: I loved this book! Can you hook me up with Constance Ann Fitzgerald? Tell her I have a big--

Michael: No. What else?

Cooter: I thought the setting was cool, man. Like, all the descriptions and shit. The strip club sounded suitably nasty, and the trashland itself was super fun to read about. Like, Constance knows how to describe things in a way that makes you see them.

Herb "The Herb": (Snickering) Hallucinations.

Cooter: It does kind of read like a hallucination!

Sophie: I think Constance took the adventure story and made it her own, in a really readable and fun way.

Herb "The Herb": She utilized the formula of the "Hero's Journey" as illustrated in the classic text "Hero With A Thousand Faces" by Joseph Campbell, and created something wholly other by introducing elements of the absurd and grotesque. All the elements are there: The hero's call to action, refusal of the call, and of course that is quickly overridden by the actions of Arnie and Victor, respectively the Foil and the love interest. The consultation with the wise woman, the obstacle, the symbolic "death of the hero" only to be resurrected, all these elements are present. I would imagine Constance is well-versed in both pop-culture and literature, as these formulas layed out by Campbell are used in some of the greatest and most popular stories throughout all of human history, to which we can now add Trashland A-Go-Go. Much like American McGee's retelling of the Alice tale, Fitzgerald subverts the usual niceties that these kinds of stories tend to contain and wallows in a dystopian trash-heap of literature. The sheer glee with which she does so is infectious.

(There is general silence for a full minute, as we all stare at Herb "The Herb.")

Michael: I--

Herb "The Herb": Party. (Takes a large hit from his joint.)

Michael: Okay, let's talk themes, what did you get out of reading Trashland A-Go-Go?

Sophie: Love conquers all, but sacrifice is necessary.

Rex: Strip club owners are dicks and should be eaten.

Cooter: Adventure awaits those who are willing to take the reins, even if they don't choose it sometimes.

Smitty: Sexy strippers rule! I liked it when Constance described her silver g-string! Wasn't there a part where her titty almost popped out?

Sophie: This was a great book. Super fun to read. I couldn't put it down.

Michael: I couldn't agree more, Sophie. This is a really great read, and I would highly recommend it to any reader of weird fiction or fun adventure stories. It's also a great way to test how strong your constitution is, when she gets particularly descriptive. Buy it! Okay, well, from me and the Party Wolves, that's all for now. Read Trashland A-Go-Go by Constance Ann Fitzgerald and enjoy a crazy trip through a land of trash and some super memorable bizarro fiction! We have a bunch more books to go in the New Bizarro Author Series, so stay tuned!

(The Party Wolves Book Club meets once a week or so to discuss books in Eraserhead Press New Bizarro Author Series. The Party Wolves are featured in the book Party Wolves in My Skull by Michael Allen Rose)

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